Armed gunmen storm court in Honduras to free MS-13 leader

Jan 27, 2019
1,747


Heavily armed men dressed in military fatigues and police uniforms stormed a court building in north-west Honduras and freed a senior leader of the powerful MS-13 gang, officials say.

Alexander Mendoza, known as "El Porky", had just arrived for a trial hearing in El Progreso, escorted by security forces, when the attack took place.
At least four officers were killed and three others were wounded.

MS-13 is one of the most violent criminal groups in Central America.

President Juan Orlando Hernández offered a reward of 2 million lempiras (£62,000; $80,000) for information that leads to Mendoza's recapture.
Police said at least 20 gunmen took part in the operation on Thursday afternoon in El Progreso, around 30km (18 miles) east of second city San Pedro Sula. One of the suspects also died in the attack.

A video said to be from the court's CCTV, and aired by Honduras' HCH broadcaster, shows a handcuffed man wearing a white tank top, believed to be Mendoza, being carried into the building by security forces. Moments later, armed men wearing similar uniforms arrive and force people into rooms.

After a few minutes, the man in the white tank top reappears, without the handcuffs and carrying what appears to be a machine gun and a pistol, trying to leave the building with a group of gunmen. A shootout between them and security forces, who were outside, unfolds.

The footage ends showing 11 men and the person believed to be Mendoza fleeing.

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It was not clear how the operation to free Mendoza, who was reportedly on the second floor awaiting the start of the hearing, unfolded inside the building. Police officers and other authorities have previously been accused of involvement with criminals.

Separate footage broadcast by local media showed the men climbing into several vehicles and escaping.
Deputy Minister of Security Luis Suazo said: "We are going to recapture this man and arrest those who helped him escape."

Local media reported the group then abandoned their vehicles and weapons in a nearby neighbourhood. The body of the group member who died was left in a red van.

Mendoza, considered one of the most important of the gang's leaders, had been captured in 2015 and sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2018, for illicit association and money laundering. He was awaiting trial for several murders.

MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, was created in the 1980s in Los Angeles by poor mostly illegal immigrants who had escaped from the civil war in El Salvador.

When the conflict ended, with a peace treaty signed in 1992, many of those who were already in jail were expelled and deported to their country, or their parents' country in many cases.

They took LA's gang culture back to Central America, and the group spread to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. In recent years, thousands of people have fled those countries, many of them trying to reach the US, saying they were victims of violence and persecution.
This sounds terrifying, hopefully the authorities can catch this guy before more violence follows, because this situation is incredibly fucked up and it seems the authorities are unable to do anything to stop the gang violence.
 
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WhySoDevious

Member
Oct 31, 2017
3,260
I didn’t bat an eye when I saw it in the newspaper.

Typical Thursday for us.

The town is about 30 mins from where I am.
 

Dyno

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,493
Honestly curious, why did they bother trying a trial when this is the sort of shit that happens? Shouldn't they basically all be shoot on sight at this point? It always seems to escalate to this if they try and actually jail anyone
 

gdt

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,574
Honestly curious, why did they bother trying a trial when this is the sort of shit that happens? Shouldn't they basically all be shoot on sight at this point? It always seems to escalate to this if they try and actually jail anyone
Well damn no trials? Just kill these guys in the spot?
That doesn't sound like a solution either....
 

Dyno

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,493
Well damn no trials? Just kill these guys in the spot?
That doesn't sound like a solution either....
Well it's not exactly an ideal one ofc. but every time they capture a big name it ends in them escaping, providing further proof of power to the person it was supposed to strip of it and show the government as even more powerless.

It just seems to bolster them if anything and dont really get how attempting to jail them and having a shootout over them is helping anybody but getting the less important names killed instead.

I did mean rather exclusively to these big leaders rather than just anyone. Because the sheer detaining of them seems to be more risk than removal.
 

WhySoDevious

Member
Oct 31, 2017
3,260
Honestly curious, why did they bother trying a trial when this is the sort of shit that happens? Shouldn't they basically all be shoot on sight at this point? It always seems to escalate to this if they try and actually jail anyone
That’s why people like Duterte get elected.

People are sick and tired about it, so if someone comes promising an iron fist against gang members, people tend to vote for them.

Of course, the last president that promised that was Pepe Lobo, whose son is now in a US jail for drug trafficking and whose wife is in jail for embezzlement. But, of course, he knew nothing of either.
 

Dyno

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,493
That’s why people like Duterte get elected.

People are sick and tired about it, so if someone comes promising an iron fist against gang members, people tend to vote for them.

Of course, the last president that promised that was Pepe Lobo, whose son is now in a US jail for drug trafficking and whose wife is in jail for embezzlement. But, of course, he knew nothing of either.
Yeah it must obviously be a very difficult issue. It's just kind of infuriating to see it continue endlessly and all those at the top just walk away every damn time and the smaller names always pay the price.

But your right, if corruption is that deeply rooted I suppose you're more likely to get corruption within the ipposition too. It's just frustrating asf to see this go on what seems to be endlessly
 

Untzillatx

Banned
Oct 27, 2017
1,186
Basque Country
How did the gangs become so powerful in Central America? Are they controlling the drug routes between South America and Mexico? Because I see they're consistently refered to as gangs, but they're basically drug cartels, are they not?
 

WhySoDevious

Member
Oct 31, 2017
3,260
How did the gangs become so powerful in Central America? Are they controlling the drug routes between South America and Mexico? Because I see they're consistently refered to as gangs, but they're basically drug cartels, are they not?
Good analysis here if you’re interested in reading up...

 
OP
OP
Lightning Count
Jan 27, 2019
1,747
Honestly curious, why did they bother trying a trial when this is the sort of shit that happens? Shouldn't they basically all be shoot on sight at this point? It always seems to escalate to this if they try and actually jail anyone
Extrajudicial killings is not the answer. They need to get their due process and day in court just like anyone else.
 

Yaboosh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,323
Honestly curious, why did they bother trying a trial when this is the sort of shit that happens? Shouldn't they basically all be shoot on sight at this point? It always seems to escalate to this if they try and actually jail anyone
Fascism. Think through shit goddammit.
 

Dyno

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,493
Extrajudicial killings is not the answer. They need to get their due process and day in court just like anyone else.
Yeah I know you're not wrong really. It's just hard not to be angry that this seems to carry on endlessly. I dont even live there, but have a couple friends not far away and it's just infuriating that people have to live alongside what essentially seems like a war between the government and the gangs.

But you are right. It just seems almost impossible to solve at times. I do really hope that the current path can lead to an end sooner rather than later.

Fascism. Think through shit goddammit.
Yeah someone else said the same and you're right. It would only open the door to the possibility of things getting worse.
 
OP
OP
Lightning Count
Jan 27, 2019
1,747
That’s why people like Duterte get elected.

People are sick and tired about it, so if someone comes promising an iron fist against gang members, people tend to vote for them.

Of course, the last president that promised that was Pepe Lobo, whose son is now in a US jail for drug trafficking and whose wife is in jail for embezzlement. But, of course, he knew nothing of either.
Duterte is a monster, he’s an absolutely awful person.
 

Commedieu

Member
Nov 11, 2017
8,137
How did the gangs become so powerful in Central America? Are they controlling the drug routes between South America and Mexico? Because I see they're consistently refered to as gangs, but they're basically drug cartels, are they not?
by making drugs illegal, and creating a market that you can build literal drug armies/pay off police to break you out of a trial.
 

WhySoDevious

Member
Oct 31, 2017
3,260
Duterte is a monster, he’s an absolutely awful person.
Exactly.

It's in places like this that people like Duterte rise to power.

I hate to admit that it would be very hard for me not to vote for someone that promised to execute gang members. We always end up getting screwed by politicians, might as well be screwed by someone that makes gang members shit their pants.

But it's not gonna happen. Honduras will always do what the US dictates, though I imagine a 2nd-term Trump would welcome someone like that.
 

tsampikos

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
2,559
I side eye anyone who brings up MS13 up super hard. Its the crypto fascist boogeyman that's used to normalize oppression against literally everyone of Latin descent regardless of where we're from or whether or not we're an immigrant.

I hear about fake MS13 stories every day. Rich white politicians talking about how their neighborhoods were ruined by them and etc. Friends mom literally thinks MS13 is gonna pop out of the bushes and murder them in a gang initiation while they are out for a jog. When real things like this actually happen I feel the oppression creep looming ever onward with no end in sight.
 
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